Like any other organization operating in a competitive market, pharmaceutical companies must seek innovative ways to stay ahead of competitors to secure their existence. A growing number of pharmaceutical companies sees potential in implementing a customer-centric strategy as a way to improve customer loyalty and drive growth. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is nothing new, yet many companies in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry fail to build the business case, let along successfully implement a working CRM strategy.

It is often the lack of knowledge, experience and expertise that prevents organizations from quickly shifting towards a client-centric and commercially successful transition. Developing a clear CRM strategy and successfully implementing it is what organizations struggle with most.

Clear Vision and Goals

It sounds obvious, but it is this initial stage where most companies fail. The first and foremost step in determining your competitive strategy is doing your homework, meaning doing0020proper analysis. Treacy and Wiersema distinguish 3 basic competitive strategies with different scopes towards customer orientation: Operational excellence, Product leadership, Customer intimacy focus. Customer intimacy focus might seem like the obvious one, but that is not always the case. An organization needs to properly analyze which of these competitive strategies is the best fit with the business model. Each of these strategies can perfectly suit the needs for a more customer-centric focus, but will require a different approach.

Do not Forget the Client

Finding success is looking first at what organizations are struggling with most so you will know which pitfalls to avoid. Even if an organization managed to define a clear vision and a proper set of goals, they fail in the actual implementation stage. The A is defined, yet how to get to B is not so clear. It is often the narrow focus within the organization that is a determining factor.

Customer Relationship Management is seen as a responsibility for Marketing and Sales and to some extent IT departments. An integrated and multidisciplinary approach is often missing. The biggest mistake organizations make here though is failing to include actual customers in the process. The base for any successful CRM strategy is founded on the demands, wishes and needs of the customer. There is no better source for expressing these than your customer. Make sure to include them during every stage of the process, from defining your strategy to the actual implementation. The strategy is described as client-centric for a reason!